Frikkie Maré1 and Henry Jordaan1
1Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
In order to ensure the future existence of an industry or business, it should be sustainable in terms of environmental stewardship (planet) and economic prosperity (profit). The problem with improving more than one sustainability indicator is that these indicators are often negatively correlated. In order to increase economic prosperity in a cow-calf operation, one should thus aim to increase the output produced by using less natural resources per unit of output while taking society at large into account. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the differences in value addition and feed requirements of seven different beef breeds on the same extensive farming conditions for a cow-calf enterprise by calculating the economic feed consumption. The results show that there are prominent differences between the seven breeds in terms of their respective feed requirements, value addition and economic feed consumption. The Bonsmara was the best breed in terms of economic feed consumption and the Simmentaler the worst. However, when one considers the results in conjunction with the data that were used to perform the analyses, it can be seen that there was a high negative correlation between the economic feed consumption and the weaning percentage of the various breeds. In order to improve the economic feed consumption of beef production, it is recommended that primary cow-calf producers evaluate the reproduction performance of the breed that they are farming with.
Dr Frikkie Maré is the Academic Department Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State. His research is mainly focused on the economics of red meat production throughout the value chain.